The Best Blackout Shades to Block Light and Improve Sleep

Boost privacy, security, and slumber with these well-made light-blocking window treatments.

Best Overall

The Sbartar Cordless Blackout Honeycomb Blinds installed in living room window next to a chair.

Sbartar Cordless Blackout Honeycomb Blinds

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Best Bang for the Buck

The ChrisDowa 100 Percent Blackout Roller Shade in white installed next to a small table.

ChrisDowa 100 Percent Blackout Roller Shade

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Best Adhesive

The Seeye Light Filtering Temporary Shades on a white background.

Seeye Light Filtering Temporary Shades

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Window shades can lend privacy, protect furnishings from ultraviolet (UV) light, and even help users get better sleep by softening sounds and keeping brightness at bay.

Because of inner layers of fabric insulation, blackout shades possess more light-blocking abilities than all other varieties of shades available. They differ from blackout curtains in that they fit snugly either into or outside the window frame, similar to classic roller shades or venetian blinds. Blackout shades can even help make a home more energy efficient by adding a layer of thermal insulation to the windows to regulate temperature in all seasons.

Various types of blackout shades are better suited to specific areas, decor styles, and operation preferences. Shoppers looking for light-blocking window treatments will want to read on to learn what to look for in these products and find out why the following are among the best blackout shades.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Sbartar Cordless Blackout Honeycomb Blinds
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: ChrisDowa 100 Percent Blackout Roller Shade
  3. BEST ADHESIVE: Seeye Light Filtering Temporary Shades
  4. BEST ROLLER: Passenger Pigeon Valanced Blackout Cordless Shades
  5. BEST ROMAN: Arlo Blinds Cordless Fabric Roman Shades 
  6. BEST CELLULAR: Grandekor Blackout Cellular Shades 
  7. BEST MOTORIZED: Yoolax Motorized Roller Shades
  8. BEST FOR BEDROOM: Allbright Thermal Insulated Blackout Roller Shades
  9. BEST CORDLESS: Redi Shade Easy Lift Fabric Cellular Blackout Shade
  10. BEST CURTAINS: Pony Dance Blackout Curtains
A white blackout shade installed in a kitchen window to create privacy from the yard.
Photo: amazon.com

How We Chose the Best Blackout Shades 

Blackout or room darkening shades should offer privacy, insulation, style, and convenience, and that’s what we considered when selecting our recommendations. Our priorities for our top picks were blackout fabric and backing materials as well as insulation properties. Then we looked at ease and type of installation, mounting options, color choices, and operation—because nobody wants a tangle of cords hanging out of the window. We also made sure to include several options for both roller, Roman, and cellular shades as well as our top pick for a motorized blackout shade in a tech-savvy home.

Finally, custom shades can be pricey, so we compared the pricing of different sizes and options to choose quality but budget-friendly products. Room darkening shades make up a large portion of the walls, and finding shades that look great and are easy to manage shouldn’t be impossible. This list of recommendations provides shoppers with a solution to meet any budget or style choice.

Our Top Picks

All of the following products were selected for their ability to block light as well as their superior design, ease of use and installation, and affordability.

Best Overall

Sbartar Cordless Blackout Honeycomb Blinds

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Product Specs

  • Type: Cordless cellular
  • Installation: Inside or outside mount
  • Width: 24 to 47 inches
  • Height: 36 to 64 inches

Pros

  • Simple installation; reversible design can be installed with included hardware
  • Multiple colors and sizes available: ivory blackout, cool silver, dark silver, ivory beige, ocean blue, and more
  • Child-friendly cordless design; will not snag or get caught on children or pets

Cons

  • Can be difficult to clean properly; honeycomb design may make it hard to reach some spots

These Sbartar blackout shadesare precisely engineered for blocking light and UV rays thanks to the blackout liner within the cellular fabric. They also provide noise reduction and can help save energy because of an inner honeycomb structure that stays cool in summer and warm in winter. A bottom tab lifts and lowers the cordless cellular shades to the preferred height.

For style versatility, these shades come in nine color combinations from which to choose. Select “blackout” versus “light filtering” versions for maximum darkness. For complete privacy, light blocking, and elegance, Sbartarshades are a solid option.

Get the Sbartar blackout shades at Amazon.

Best Bang for the Buck

ChrisDowa 100 Percent Blackout Roller Shade

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Product Specs

  • Type: Corded roller
  • Installation: Inside or outside mount
  • Width: 20 to 65 inches
  • Height: 72 inches

Pros

  • Available in 6 modern colors: white, baby blue, biscotti beige, black, brown, and light gray
  • Provides ease of installation; accessory kit included with purchase comes with brackets, screws, and instructions
  • Suitable for most window widths; comes in over 36 standard size options

Cons

  • Only comes in a single 72-inch height option; may not fit longer windows
  • Light can bleed through with inside mount installation; may not be 100 percent blackout

When decorating a room on a strict budget, splurging on needlessly pricey blackout shades may be a stretch for some shoppers. That’s where this blackout roller shade from ChrisDowa comes in. The thermal-insulated shade provides excellent room-darkening capabilities. Its ability to block light can help sleepers catch a few extra moments of rest on bright mornings.

With both inside and outside mounting options, installation is a breeze. The metal chain can also be clipped into place at the bottom to prevent safety hazards to pets and children. This window blind is available in six modern colors to suit a wide variety of decors and styles. It can also be ordered in multiple sizes to fit most window dimensions.

Get the ChrisDowa blackout shades at Amazon

Best Adhesive

Seeye Light Filtering Temporary Shades

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Product Specs

  • Type: Cordless cellular
  • Installation: Adhesive
  • Width: 36 or 48 inches
  • Height: 72 inches

Pros

  • Great for renters; can be taken down if necessary with the temporary adhesive strip
  • Simplest installation: trim, peel, and stick with the adhesive strip
  • Taps at the bottom help to control the blinds; simply clip the blinds at the desired height

Cons

  • Only a few colors available; may not be suitable for some users’ spaces
  • Limited width options; only comes in 36- or 42-inch widths

To block light quickly and conveniently, consider Seeye’s light-filtering temporary shades. Made of high-quality, nonwoven blackout fabric rather than paper, these breathable shades are suitable for homes with kids and pets. They install easily, and no hardware is required. Simply measure, cut, tear, and press the peel-and-stick adhesive backing to the window frame.They remove just as easily without damaging the frame.

Seeye shades block sunshine and ambient light, and they are controlled by taps at the bottom. Although they’re only available in a few colors, they can be purchased in packs of two, three, or six at a discounted price for shoppers who have several windows to cover.

Get the Seeye blackout shades at Amazon (black) or Seeye (black, gray, or white).

Best Roller

Passenger Pigeon Valanced Blackout Cordless Shades

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Product Specs

  • Type: Roller cordless
  • Installation: Inside or outside mount
  • Width: Customizable
  • Height: Customizable

Pros

  • Luxurious-looking fabric; suitable for offices, living rooms, and more
  • Highly customizable; comes in a variety of colors and the pull cord can be moved along the bar lengthwise
  • Color can be customized to suit any user preference or taste; buyers can also select valance color

Cons

  • May have too many bells and whistles for some users

Passenger Pigeon’s valanced blackout cordless shades block up to 100 percent of sunlight and UV rays from entering the home. They also provide insulation against heat and cold, reduce noise, and boost privacy. These cordless roller shades, available in a variety of colors, let buyers customize dimensions or select precut shades from dozens of length and width options.

Constructed from heavy-duty fabric, these shades are easy to clean with a damp cloth or dustcloth. The fabric itself is thermally insulated and waterproof, making these shades a good choice for French doors as well as windows that receive a lot of sunlight. Plus, shoppers can select one of five colors for the valance.

Get the Passenger Pigeon blackout shades at Amazon

Best Roman

Arlo Blinds Cordless Fabric Roman Shades

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Product Specs

  • Type: Cordless Roman
  • Installation: Inside or outside mount
  • Width: 22 to 72 inches
  • Height: 48 to 72 inches

Pros

  • Suits most decor styles; comes in several neutral colorways
  • Great for temperature regulation; increased energy efficiency as material is thick enough to provide thermal insulation
  • Simple cordless design; will not tangle or snag on children or pets

Cons

  • Fabric can arrive creased and wrinkled and require pressing before hanging

Chic, safe, and effective, the Arlo Blinds cordless fabric Roman shades are made of thick polyester fabric to block a majority of light, lend privacy, and boost energy efficiency by keeping rooms cool in summer and warm in winter. The shades are available in dozens of precut dimensions to fit a host of residential windows, and they operate easily with a cordless lift mechanism.

Choose from among several neutral colors (graphite, light gray, navy, and white), which work with a range of interior styles. Cleaning is a breeze with a dusting cloth or soft-brush vacuum attachment. A steamer on low heat can remove any wrinkles. Although a good choice for a variety of living and office spaces, these shades do not block all light so are not ideal for bedrooms that require complete darkness.

Get the Arlo Blinds blackout shades at Amazon, The Home Depot, Walmart, or Arlo Blinds

Best Cellular

Grandekor Blackout Cellular Shades

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Product Specs

  • Type: Cordless cellular
  • Installation: Inside or outside mount
  • Width: 22 to 58 inches
  • Height: 36 to 64 inches

Pros

  • Smooth cordless design; will not snag or catch on children or pets
  • Honeycomb construction blocks out 100 percent of harmful UV rays
  • Durable construction keeps the home cool or warm in all-season weather conditions

Cons

  • Can be difficult to fully roll up to the top and for it to stay there

Stylish and intended to block 100 percent of light, Grandekor’s blackout cellular shades are designed to elevate the look and improve the function of any home. These polyester fabric shades are lined with aluminum foil for complete light and heat-blocking abilities, and the cordless design is easily operated by a clear tab at the bottom of each panel.

They come in five colors and dozens of sizes, and they can be installed inside or outside the window frame. All necessary hardware and instructions are included.

Get the Grandekor blackout shades at Amazon.

Best Motorized

Yoolax Motorized Roller Shades

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Product Specs

  • Type: Motorized roller
  • Installation: Inside or outside mount
  • Width: 22 to 97 inches
  • Height: 20 to 105 inches

Pros

  • Great for tech fans; motorized design allows for hands-free use and customization
  • Easy to use once installed; compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home assistant
  • Wide range of sizes and colors to choose from to suit any space

Cons

  • May be tricky to install for some users; may take more than 1 set of hands

If motorized blackout shades make sense for your home, these from Yoolax are worth exploring. Choose from either a remote-control-operated version or hands-free light control via Alexa or Google Home assistant. The rechargeable, battery-powered motor will run for between 4 and 6 months of daily use per charge.

Constructed of sleek PVC, both sides of these shades are the same color for a seamless look inside and out. They’re easy to clean with a quick wipe of a damp cloth. Yoolax shades are made to measure, so click “Customize Now”to receive emailed measurement and installation instructions within 24 hours.

Get the Yoolax blackout shades at Amazon

Best for Bedroom

Allbright Thermal Insulated Blackout Roller Shades

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Product Specs

  • Type: Corded roller
  • Installation: Inside or outside mount
  • Width: 20 to 58 inches
  • Height: 72 inches

Pros

  • Luxurious material is suitable for office spaces, living rooms, bedrooms, and more
  • Installs easily; recessed design is easy to install and manual is included
  • The chain can be secured with a safety device; suitable for homes with children and pets
  • Simple to clean; can be dusted or cleaned with a damp cloth

Cons

  • Limited color options compared to similar blackout shades available
  • May be wrinkled or creased upon delivery; may require pressing before installation

A dark room can often lead to a better night’s sleep, and these Allbright shades are designed to provide 100 percent darkness. The polyester shades are lined with thermal silver fabric made of certified nontoxic materials, so shoppers can breathe as easily as they sleep. This lining blocks all ambient light and helps maintain the ideal temperature inside the home.

Operated by a pull chain, these well-tailored shades are designed to fit inside the window frame, and the chain can be secured with a safety device. And if dark hues won’t suit the bedroom decor, choose one of the soft neutral shades of beige, gray, or light gray without compromising room-darkening ability.

Get the Allbright blackout shades at Amazon

Best Cordless

Redi Shade Easy Lift Fabric Cellular Blackout Shade

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Product Specs 

  • Type: Cellular cordless
  • Installation: Peel and stick
  • Width: 30 to 60 inches
  • Height: 64 inches

Pros

  • Cordless shades are safe to use in homes with children or pets; no cords to get caught on
  • Comes in multiple sizes to suit a variety of windows
  • Easy to install: simply trim, peel, and stick the unit to the wall via the adhesive strip
  • Comes in natural and white colorways to suit user preferences

Cons

  • May not come off after it’s affixed to the wall; brand advertises this shade as permanent

Those looking for a cordless blackout shade will find the Redi Shade Easy Lift fabric cellular blackout shade to be a top contender. This pick is made with polyester and requires no drilling, screws, or brackets to install. Simply trim, peel, and stick this shade to the wall above the window and begin use. The built-in cordless lift mechanism allows for easy up and down movement, making this model especially safe for homes with children or pets.

As for blackout capability, this model has an energy-efficient 9/16-inch blackout honeycomb fabric that blocks UV rays and harsh sunlight to protect against heat and harmful rays. Plus, this shade comes in multiple sizes to accommodate a variety of window sizes.

Get the Redi Shade blackout shades at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Walmart.

Best Curtains

Pony Dance Blackout Curtains

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Product Specs 

  • Type: Curtains
  • Installation: Rod pocket and curtain clips
  • Width: 21 sizes
  • Height: 21 sizes

Pros

  • Blocks 85 to 95 percent of UV rays while blocking out ambient noise
  • Comes in 34 different color options and 21 different sizes to suit any user’s windows
  • Made with durable and easy-to-clean polyester for long-term use
  • Affordable price compared to some other options on this list

Cons

  • Some of the lighter shades of these curtains may not provide the best blackout capability

Pony Dance’s blackout curtains provide a luxurious feel while being effective at their job. They are capable of blocking out 85 to 95 percent of UV rays while coming in a huge range of colors and sizes to suit a given user’s space. These polyester curtains are also capable of blocking out ambient noise and have a rod pocket design, which is installed with curtain clips. While this helps effectively keep the curtains in place, it is a little tricky to install compared to grommet-style curtains.

Get the Pony Dance blackout curtains at Amazon.

Jump to Our Top Picks 

What to Consider When Choosing Blackout Shades

While blackout shades are functional, they can also be beautifully designed to coordinate with curtains and other decor. Consider the purpose of these window treatments and overall look, methods of control and installation, and ease of cleaning and upkeep.

Types of Blackout Shades

While all shades can block light to some extent, only blackout shades can keep ambient light, as well as the sun’s strong rays, from seeping in. Depending on the room’s decor, window shape, and light allowances, choose one of the following styles for room-darkening effects.

Roller

Classic roller shades consist of a single piece of fabric “rolled” into a concealed headrail when raised. To block light, roller shades must be pulled down using a cord or chain. Cordless versions, considered safer for homes with kids and pets, are also available. Affordable and easy to install, roller shades can be mounted inside or outside the window frame, though outside-mount versions are more efficient at blocking light.

Roman

Elegant yet unfussy, Roman shades consist of soft fabric that can be raised or lowered by a system of rings and a cord, which is sewn into the back of the panel. When raised, these panels collapse into horizontal folds at the top of the window. When lowered, the fabric either lies flat against the window or hangs in soft loops or folds. Flat Roman shades look at home in traditional or contemporary settings, while soft-fold Roman shades offer a bit of airiness and romance to a room’s decor.

Cellular

An internal 3D structure that resembles a honeycomb makes cellular shades uniquely efficient at blocking out light. Each cell is coated in insulating blackout fabric, creating an absorptive chamber that light rays can’t escape. Operated by either a cord or a push tab at the bottom, cellular shades offer excellent light control, noise reduction, and insulation, which can potentially lower energy costs over time.

Constructed in narrow, crisp accordion folds, these shades can be fully drawn or raised to any height preference to let in light. Some versatile deluxe versions can also be raised and lowered from the top as well as the bottom, offering more lighting and privacy options.

Motorized

Motorized blackout shades are operated with the press of a remote-control button or by voice activation via smart-home compatibility. While more expensive than manual window treatments, they can be a real convenience in rooms with high ceilings or where windows are hard to reach. Motorized blackout shades may also be useful for office meeting spaces, game rooms, and home theaters where complete darkness is desired. They offer a sleek look suited for modern environments.

Purpose and Style

Blackout shades can offer privacy, insulation, noise reduction, sun protection, and temperature control. Style wise, they can enhance the overall mood of rooms. While soft, neutral hues, such as white, beige, or gray, can provide significant light blocking, dark gray, navy, and black provide the best blackout effects. Roman shades can be used without extra curtains, but roller and honeycomb shades tend to look best when paired with curtains or valances.

Material and Color

Blackout shades are typically made of tightly woven polyester fabric, blocking sunshine and ambient light with an insulating black liner that usually isn’t visible. To present a seamless, attractive look from outside as well as inside the house, look for shades that are the same color on both sides, as opposed to those lined with blackout material on the back.While well-engineered shades are effective in lighter hues, including white and ivory, darker colors do tend to block light more effectively.

Sizing and Installation

Shade sizing has two options: precut or customized. Precut shades come in a range of standard sizes to fit an array of conventionally sized residential windows. To purchase, simply measure the window inside or outside the frame, depending on the chosen mount type. Then select the correct dimensions from the options provided or choose the “custom sizing” option and follow brand instructions.

When measuring for shades, consider where and how they will be installed. Determine if they will be placed inside or outside the window frame and whether they will be secured to the frame with adhesive strips or via hardware.

  • Adhesive shades, which tend to be the least expensive option, are best for quick, DIY solutions as well as travel and cabin/RV living. Simply measure and cut the shades to the window dimensions, tear off the adhesive strip, and stick to the window frame, according to brand instructions.
  • Inside-mount shades, which require precise measurements, are installed inside the window frame with mounting brackets. These shades offer a clean, sleek look and take up less space than outside-mount shades. They also offer more options for layering curtains and other window treatments.
  • Outside-mount shades, which are installed outside the window frame via mounting brackets, block light most effectively. Window treatment experts often recommend these for rooms where maximum darkening is desired, such as bedrooms. They require less accurate measurements than inside-mount shades and can also make windows appear bigger.

Controls and Upkeep

Manual shades are operated by a cord, a chain, or a push tab. Roller, honeycomb, and Roman shades come in both corded and cordless varieties. Motorized shades have no cords or tabs and work via integrated electronics. Because of the risk of a cord tripping or tangling around a body part, cordless shades are considered safer for homes with kids and pets.

Motorized shades have several control options. For a more integrated look and feel, these shades can be paired with a wall switch or an app on a smart device. Pairing motorized shades with a smart-home device has many benefits, including programmable timer options. For example, shades can be set to lower at a specific time if a window gets a lot of sun in the morning or afternoon.

In terms of upkeep, always follow manufacturer care instructions. In general, most blackout shades can be cleaned with a microfiber dust cloth or brush-headed vacuum attachment. Roller blinds are the easiest to clean because they are flat and smooth. Honeycomb and soft-fold Roman shades have more texture, so they will need to be dusted with care. For motorized blinds, dusting should be sufficient.

FAQs 

Shoppers who are still somewhat in the dark about blackout shades will want to consider the answers to these commonly asked questions.

Q. What type of shades are best for blackout?

The two types of shades that are best for blackout are cellular and roller shades. Cellular shades are made of one piece of fabric or material so they have a flat, thick surface to provide total blackout. Roller shades come with a pleated or honeycomb construction that is thick enough to keep a room dark. But be sure to select blackout shades with a dark color to add even more blackout capabilities to a room. Some colors to keep in mind are dark gray, brown, black, and dark blue.

Q. What is the difference between room darkening and blackout shades?

Room darkening (also called “light filtering”) shades don’t block all light, thus allowing some ambient light to come through on the sides, bottom, or top. Conversely, most blackout shades are capable of blocking light and keeping 100 percent of UV rays out, especially if they are a dark color.

Q. Do blackout shades provide privacy at night?

Yes, room darkening shades are made with thick blackout material and will prevent light from creeping in, as well as people from being able to peek inside. Many are made with a single piece of fabric that keeps windows dark, whereas other window treatments are made with a creased or textured design that is thick enough to keep both light and prying eyes at bay.

Q. Can blackout shades be placed over blinds?

No, blackout shades should be used in the place of traditional blinds. But with recessed blinds that sit far back in a windowsill, blinds can be placed in front to have double the coverage against UV rays.

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Andréana Lefton is a writer and educator, focusing on human rights and creating spaces of refuge—in our homes and communities. As a documentary researcher, she has freelanced with The Guardian as well as NPR- and BBC-affiliates. She’s written for On Being, the United Nations, and many non-profit clients in the US, UK, Europe, and Middle East. All that she knows of garden care and interior design she learned from her artistic mother, Jacqueline. She now applies these skills to her life in Chattanooga, TN, where home is an urban art studio with books piled everywhere. Follow her on Twitter.

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